Ryan Schroeder/OSU Athletics

Without senior center Kassidy De Lapp, Abbie Winchester (right) had to step up as a post player for the Cowgirls against TCU. 

Lauren Fields knocked down a 3-pointer that could have sent the Oklahoma State women’s basketball team into overtime against TCU.

Instead, the Horned Frogs had a chance to break the tie, and they capitalized on it.

With two seconds left, a single free throw carried TCU past the Cowgirls, 64-63, on Wednesday night in Fort Worth, Texas. The Horned Frogs claimed their first Big 12 Conference victory of the season, while OSU (6-7 overall, 1-3 Big 12 Conference) recorded its third loss in a four-game span.

After Fields hit the tying 3-point shot with 10 seconds remaining, a defensive foul on Taylen Collins gave Lauren Heard, TCU’s leading scorer, an opportunity to win the game at the free-throw line. She missed her first attempt, but her second shot swished through the net. Then TCU guard Tavy Diggs sealed the victory, stealing the ball from Lexy Keys in the final second.

Despite the loss, OSU’s offense showed considerable improvements. The Cowgirls went 9 for 17 from 3-point range for a season-best percentage of 52.9. They made 39.7% of their field-goal attempts, a jump from their season average of 36.4%. Fields, the Cowgirls’ standout junior guard from Shawnee, stockpiled a career-high 26 points, and sophomore guard Keys contributed 13 points.

But OSU had missing pieces. Although the Cowgirls pride themselves on defensive tenacity, TCU’s 64 points are the most OSU has given up through four Big 12 games.

On the postgame radio broadcast, OSU coach Jim Littell said the Cowgirls allowed more “easy baskets” against TCU than they have in other games.

“When you go on the road, you just gotta be really, really tough-minded,” Littell said. “Just a lot of those easy baskets come back to haunt you, and pass and cuts and turning your head and somebody getting in the lane on you. Most of the time, I think the way we play, we bully people, and I thought there were times that we got bullied tonight.”

The Cowgirls had a disadvantage in the paint without 6-foot-3 center Kassidy De Lapp, who missed the game because of illness, according to the radio broadcast. OSU’s post presence further decreased when Abbie Winchester fouled out with 9:22 left. The Horned Frogs (5-7, 1-2) outscored the Cowgirls 34-24 in the paint.

“I asked our kids to take this mentality, so I’m gonna take this mentality, the next person up,” Littell said. “You’ve gotta step up and do some things. We had some kids that had an opportunity to do that tonight, didn’t do it at times. It’s that way all over the country … because of the time that we’re in right now, and you need to have the other people trained well enough that you can just go on and not miss a beat.”

Sometimes, the Cowgirls were able to carry on. Other times, they struggled. In the third quarter, OSU led by as many as 14 points, but TCU launched an 11-0 run to jump to a 51-47 lead. Junior guard N’Yah Boyd responded with a 3-pointer from the top of the key, cutting TCU’s advantage to 51-50 at the end of the quarter, and the Cowgirls and Horned Frogs stayed close to each other for the rest of the game.

Heard and Diggs fueled the Frogs’ offense, each scoring 20 points. Before Heard made the final go-ahead shot, TCU had already gained momentum at the free-throw line. The Frogs hit 14 of 21, or 66.7%, of their attempts from the stripe.

Next, the Cowgirls return home to face Iowa State at 1 p.m. Saturday.

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